March 7, 2011
LOWELL, Mass. -- Ta'Shia Phillips scored 26 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:31 to play, and No. 5 Xavier pulled away in the closing minutes for a 67-60 win over Dayton in the Atlantic 10 tournament title game Monday.
Xavier, which won the A10 tourney title for the fourth time in five years, earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney, the Musketeers' fourth straight trip.
Special Jennings had 17 points and Amber Harris overcame a rough shooting day to score 12 for Xavier (28-2).
Justine Raterman led the Flyers (21-11) with 19 points and Kristin Daugherty had 12.
After Raterman's jumper tied it 60 with 2 minutes left, Phillips, who went 11 of 19 from the floor, scored in the lane. Harris then hit the first of two free throws before the Musketeers got the rebound on the miss.
Harris, Xavier's scoring leader, went just 5 for 17 from the floor.
Phillips then nailed two from the line to help seal it.
Harris' short jumper in the lane triggered a 6-0 Xavier run as the Musketeers opened their largest lead of the game, 58-53 with 3:46 to play. Phillips then followed with two free throws before Harris hit a turnaround jumper.
Like in the first half, Dayton constantly fronted and double-teamed the 6-foot-5 Harris, making it tough for the A10 player of the year to get the ball in good scoring spots.
The Flyers took a 38-30 lead on Daugherty's jumper from the top of the key 2 minutes into the second half before the Musketeers picked up the defensive pressure, sparking an 11-3 run that tied it at 41 on Harris' fastbreak layup off a turnover with just over 13 minutes to play.
Dayton, which moved up a spot in this week's AP poll and entered the day with the nation's best scoring defense, limiting opponents to 55.3 points per game.
Neither team held more than two point edge over next 8 1/2 minutes and the lead changed hands six times.
Dayton, which entered as the conference's highest scoring team, looked as if it could blow Xavier out of the building at the start, pulling to an 11-2 lead in the game's opening 5 minutes.
The Flyers, making their first appearance in the A10 title game, frustrated the Musketeers' low-post tandem of Harris and Phillips, constantly double teaming whenever the ball went to them in the paint and forcing them to take contested shots.
Harris, who entered fifth in the nation in scoring at 19.0 points per a game, finally got her first basket of the game on a short jumper in the lane with just over 6 minutes left in the opening half as Xavier climbed back, closing it to 22-20. But, Raterman, who had 15 points in the opening half by mainly driving by her defender, nailed a 3 from the left wing and followed that with a a baseline drive for a basket.
Harris missed her first three shots from the floor and started 1 for 7.
But, luckily for the Musketeers, while Harris was shut down the 6-foot-6 Phillips was carrying the team offensively. She scored 16 on 8 of 12 shooting.
Xavier won the first two meetings of the season between the teams by four points each time, the second in overtime at Dayton on Feb. 5.
Dayton advanced to the final by upsetting second-seeded Temple on Sunday.
Justine Raterman, Dayton
Kristin Daugherty, Dayton
Special Jennings, Xavier
Amber Harris, Xavier
Ta'Shia Phillips, Xavier (MOP)